When Charles Darwin explored the southern cone of South America in 1830, fewer than 1.2 billion people inhabited Earth. We approach eight billion today, and biospheric impacts do not abate. This article discusses the various deleterious influences of this population growth, arguing that “much of what was once generally predictable in terms of pattern and process [within ecosystems] is no longer.”
The author assess current and potential risks stemming from the environmental changes due to unchecked human population growth. João discuss the extent and impact of population growth on biodiversity hotspots, and the ecological impacts of poverty through hunting of wildlife.
Driscoll et al. (2018) – A biodiversity-crisis hierarchy to evaluate and refine conservation indicators
According to this research, the existing indicators do not adequately draw attention to and measure all of the drivers of the biodiversity crisis. Driscoll et al. use a biodiversity-crisis hierarchy as a conceptual model linking drivers of change to biodiversity loss to evaluate the scope of current indicators. They find major gaps related to monitoring governments, human population size, corruption and threat-industries.
Crist et al. (2017) – The interaction of human population, food production, and biodiversity protection
This research suggests that the scale of human population and the current pace of its growth contribute substantially to the loss of biological diversity. The needs of all human beings—especially for food—imply that projected population growth will undermine protection of the natural world. Slowing, and eventually reversing population growth is necessary in order to sustain biodiversity and human well-being. To achieve this, actions are required; such as investing in universal access to reproductive health services and contraceptive technologies, advancing women’s education, and achieving gender equality.
Maxwell et al. (2016) – Biodiversity: The ravages of guns, nets and bulldozers
According to the analysis of IUCN Red List data on 8688 species, by Sean Maxwell and colleagues, the dominant drivers of current extinctions are overexploitation, agricultural activity and urban development. More than 80% of species analysed are harmed by more than one sub-class threat as logging, hunting and fishing under overexploitation and crop/livestock farming or timber plantations under agricultural activity.
Ceballos et al. (2015) – Accelerated modern human–induced species losses: Entering the sixth mass extinction
The authors compared the current extinction rates of mammal and other vertebrates with two – conservative and highly conservative – background extinction rates. The analysis showed that current extinction rates vastly exceed both estimated natural average background rates. The evidence is incontrovertible that recent extinction rates are unprecedented in human history and highly unusual in Earth’s history, emphasizing, that people initiated a mass extinction episode unparalleled for 65 million years.
McKee et al. (2013) – Human population density and growth validated as extinction threats to mammal and bird species
Is there a link between human population density and threats to mammal and bird species? If yes, can it be quantified not only in the present, but as the human population grows? This analysis shows that human population density is a key cause, and in many places a proximate cause, of mammal and bird species becoming threatened with extinction.
McKee (2009) – Contemporary Mass Extinction and the Human Population Imperative
Who is responsible for the accelerating biodiversity loss? Whereas behaviors associated with the human enterprise can be tied to specific extinctions, the global pattern of biodiversity loss is clearly linked to the extraordinary growth of our population’s size and density. Continued losses of species remain likely if the growth of the human population goes unabated.
Luck (2007) – A review of the relationships between human
population density and biodiversity
Reviews therelationships between human population density and measures of biodiversity status, focusing particularly on the evidence for spatial congruence between people and species richness and the threat of increasing human population density may pose to biodiversity conservation.
Thomas et al. (2004) – Extinction risk from climate change
How many species will be threatened by anthropogenic climate change in the future? Thomas et al. assess extinction risks for sample regions that cover some 20% of the Earth’s terrestrial surface. On the basis of mid-range climate-warming scenarios for 2050, 15–37% of species in the sample of regions and taxa will be ‘committed to extinction’.
Cincotta et al. (2000) – Human population in the biodiversity hotspots
In 1995 more than 1.1 billion people, (~20% of world population) were living within biodiversity hotspots (12% of Earth’s terrestrial surface). The population growth rate in the hotspots (1995– 2000) was 1.8% yearly, substantially higher than the growth rate of the world (1.3% yearly) and above that of the developing countries (1.6% yearly). The study underlines the potential conservation significance of decline in human fertility and policies and programs that influence human migration.